On the campaign trail in Pakistan, candidates boast about their readiness to stand up to Washington and often tout their anti-American credentials. One party leader even claims he would shoot down U.S. drones if he comes to power.
So it's perhaps no surprise that the government that emerges from next month's parliamentary election is likely to be more nationalistic and protective of Pakistani sovereignty than its predecessor.
As a result, the U.S. may need to work harder to enlist Islamabad's cooperation, and the new Pakistani government might push for greater limits on unpopular American drone strikes targeting Taliban and al-Qaida militants in the country.
But ultimately, the final say on Pakistan's stance toward drones and many aspects of the relationship with Washington is in the hands of the country's powerful army. And even nationalist politicians like former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the leading contender in the election, recognize the need for a U.S. alliance and are unlikely to go too far in disturbing it.